Monday, May 30 by joegorun
Join us for our annual Learn to Bike Event on June 4th at 9am-12:30pm, for children 5+ yrs old, at the WW Farmers Market. Required: working bike, helmet, current member of WWBPA. (Can buy a helmet from WWBPA for $10 and join WWBPA at LtB). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Pre-registration is suggested via email.
Tuesday, May 17 by joegorun
Bring your bike to the West Windsor Farmers Market Saturday, 5/21, and stop by the WWBPA tent for our annual bike repair clinic. We’ll teach you how to do minor repairs on your bike so it is safe to ride for the summer season.
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Monday, March 21 by joegorun
Please join us tonight at the WW Twp Council’s work session to support bike lanes and safe crossings on Canal Pte Blvd, 7:30ish pm at the WW Municipal Center, after the regular business session. The proposed repaving and reconfiguration from the current 4 lanes to 3 plus bike lanes is far from a done deal – there is an active contingent who believe that roads are for cars and bikes do not belong on them. We need your help tonight, hope to see you there!
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Tuesday, March 15 by joegorun
Please come celebrate WWBPA’s 10th anniversary on Thursday March 17, 7pm at the West Windsor Senior Center, 271 Clarksville Rd, West Windsor Township, NJ 08550. Raffle, cake, awards and hear the latest happening in West Windsor.
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Friday, February 12 by joegorun
Applications for 2016-17 Student Advisors are available and due March 13, 2016.
Scholarship applications for High School Seniors are available and due April 15, 2016.
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Wednesday, February 10 by joegorun
A big thank you to those who shovel the snow from the walks and bike parking at the Princeton Jct train station!
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Friday, October 2 by JerryFoster
Let’s re-visit the great war between the executive branch (NJDOT) and the legislative (NJ Title 39) and judiciary (NJ Supreme Court Polzo v Essex County ruling) branches with regard to bicycling on the shoulder. Everybody does it, but is it legal?
NJDOT’s excellent 2011 Bicycling Manual recommends “riding on the right side of the road or on the shoulder.” NJDOT’s circa-1996 Introduction to Bicycle Facilities notes, “Advanced bicyclists are best served by bicycle compatible streets and highways which have been designed to accommodate shared use by bicycles and motor vehicles.” Paved shoulders are considered one form of bicycle compatible roadway.
So NJDOT encourages it, but does that make it legal? NJ Title 39:4-14.1 states: “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
Wait a minute, isn’t a bicycle a vehicle? Not in NJ – human-powered devices are specifically excluded from the legal definition of vehicle in 39:1-1: “”Vehicle” means every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.”
So what, it’s the same thing while riding in the shoulder, right? Not really, as the shoulder is specifically excluded from the “roadway” legal definition in 39:1-1: “”Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.” So a cyclist riding in the shoulder would not be granted all the rights and responsibilities as the driver of a vehicle.
Aren’t we nitpicking? Motorists can’t legally drive in the shoulder anyway – cyclists can’t very well have the same rights and responsibilities as the driver of a vehicle while riding in the shoulder, as it would also be illegal.
Exactly! If a cyclist has the same rights/responsibilities to follow the rules of the road, s/he should only ride in the travel lane, not in the shoulder.
NJDOT’s lawyers, presuming to encourage only legal cycling behavior, may well point to the sentence structure of 39:4-14.1. It implies that every person riding a bicycle *outside* the roadway (e.g. on the shoulder) would not have the same rights/responsibilities as the driver of a vehicle, but that doesn’t make it illegal, since it’s not explicitly prohibited, like it is for drivers of a vehicle in 39:4-82.
Under this interpretation, it’s a cyclist’s choice whether to ride in the roadway, and be legally bound to follow all the rules of the road, or live free on the shoulder. Just think, no rules, no responsibilities – bike against traffic, blow the wrong way through stop signs, it’s all legal if you’re a cyclist on the shoulder. Under this interpretation, cyclists have an implicitly legal option to ride on the shoulder that isn’t offered to drivers of vehicles.
So which is it? Illegal or legally available w no rights/responsibilities? According to the NJ Supreme Court in Polzo v Essex County, “Bicyclists do not have special privileges on a roadway’s shoulder. Indeed, a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’s shoulder. The Motor Vehicle Code does not designate the roadway’s shoulder as a bicycle lane.”
So, as far as the law with regard to cyclists is concerned, the NJ Supremes ruled that a cyclist “is directed” to the roadway, “not on the roadway’s shoulder.”
The Polzo ruling was in 2012 – why is NJDOT still encouraging cyclists to ride on the shoulder? Shouldn’t shoulders with sufficient space be designated as bike lanes? What ever happened to the Complete Streets policy?
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Friday, September 18 by JerryFoster
In our 5th annual survey, WWBPA volunteers counted 360 bicyclists and pedestrians at 5 locations around the train station on Wednesday September 16, 2015 between 5-8pm. Last year the count was 343, but the numbers are not directly comparable, since we counted at only 3 locations last year. Comparing the same locations at the same time slots, biking and walking decreased 5% over last year. At least we had beautiful fall weather again this year.
Once again we participated in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, an effort to accurately and consistently measure usage and demand for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
Our 2015 findings:
- Cranbury/Wallace/571 (Rite Aid) – 25 bike, 112 walk
- Scott/Alexander (Arts Center) – 26 bike, 90 walk
- Vaughn/Alexander (bus stop) – 19 bike, 39 walk
- Station/571 (Rep. Holt Headquarters) – 5 bike, 6 walk
- Wallace/Alexander (WW lot) – 11 bike, 27 walk
Total: 360 people, 86 who bike, 274 who walk
Thanks to our volunteers!
Traffic along 571 in downtown West Windsor flowed freely throughout the observation time, except for 3 minutes at 5:30pm – this is consistent with last year, which congested for 4 minutes at 6:00pm. Honks were also consistent at 11 this and last year, while the number of semi trucks rose by 2 to 7 this year. One of the honks was to encourage a right turn on red from Wallace to 571, which both the honker and honkee proceeded to do, illegally – an additional sign at the corner would aid in getting the message out. I was honked at from behind a few weeks ago while waiting on my bike at Wallace, but just pointed up at the No Turn On Red sign overhead.
- midblock crossings of 571 at Rite Aid driveway – 10
- male – 261, female – 99
- walkers – 274, cyclists – 86
- walkers – 187 male, 87 female
- cyclists – 74 male, 10 female
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Thursday, September 10 by joegorun
On Sept 12 the West Windsor Bike Fest 2015 will be held at Community Park. 7, 11, 20 and 40 mi ride options. Rain date Sunday, 9/13. See http://www.westwindsornj.org/recreation/ for more information.
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Thursday, July 16 by joegorun
Bring your used bicycles Sept 19 to the WW Farmers Market. WWBPA will be collecting used bicycles to donate and support the Trenton Boys and Girls Club. Tax deductible donations.
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Monday, May 18 by joegorun
The Ride of Silence is an international event, taking place every year around the globe at the same local time. This ride aims to raise awareness of cyclists on the road, as well as remember those who have been victims of bicycle/motor vehicle accidents. As per the global guidelines, we will depart from the WW Municipal Parking Lot at 7:00 p.m. for a silent 10 mile slow ride. Cruising speed will be 10-12 mph max. We will have a police escort. The event is free. Please bring a working bicycle. Helmets required. More info on the history and international event at www.rideofsilence.org. Rain or shine. Wednesday, May 20: Ride of Silence:.
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Saturday, May 16 by joegorun
On Sunday, May 17, 2015, if you are an adult and have always wanted to learn how to ride your bike, this is your day.
Join the WWBPA for its annual Adult Learn to Bike Event. The event is for adults 18 or older who want help to learn how to ride a bicycle. Meet at the upper Vaughn Parking Lot (the newly created lot near the PJ train station) at 10:00 a.m-12pm. Pre-registration/RSVP via email is suggested; you must bring a bike in good working order and a helmet (or you can purchase a helmet if needed). Cost is $40 per family and free to current members of WWBPA as of June 1, 2014. Email email@example.com and watch our Facebook page and website (wwbpa.org) for late changes.
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Tuesday, May 12 by joegorun
Join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance for its annual Learn to Bike Event on May 16, 2015. The event is for children who must be 5 years old or older and be able to ride a bike with training wheels. Meet at the West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.; the event ends promptly at 12:30 p.m. Pre-registration is suggested; you must bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. Cost is $40 per family and free to current members of WWBPA as of June 1, 2014. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and watch our Facebook page and website (wwbpa.org) for late changes.
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Friday, May 1 by joegorun
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is organizing its sixth annual Walk to the Farmers’ Market to mark the opening day of the market on May 2, at 9 a.m.
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This free, family-friendly walk is open to people of all ages, and those in wheelchairs and strollers as well.
Meet us at the back of Maurice Hawk School, 303-305 Clarksville Road at 9 a.m. Our mile-long walk will take us to Berrien Avenue on the school path, and then to Alexander Road. We then cross Alexander Road and Wallace Road and continue over the roundabout to Vaughn Drive, where we will proceed to the Farmers’ Market and the WWBPA table.
If you can’t join us for the walk, you can still visit our table at the market. We’ll be there every other week starting with the first week of the market.
Hope to see you there!
Thursday, April 9 by joegorun
On Sunday, April 26, 2015, at 1pm the WWBPA Student Advisors will be leading a bike ride for anyone 12 years or older beginning at the East Parking Lot along Edinburg Rd in Mercer County Park. 13 or 19 mile roundtrip options. Check in at 12:45pm. Bike Ride 1-3pm. Free event. No pre-registration required. Helmets and a functioning bicycle are mandatory. Organized by the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance. Please fill out and print the waiver. Anyone under 18 must have the waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
Community Bike Ride 4_26_2015 Flyer
Download and Print: Community Bike Waiver April 26, 2015
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Friday, February 27 by JerryFoster
Let’s face it – many people perceive bicyclists as arrogant. Let’s look at one too-typical letter to the editor, where someone leads off with the arrogance charge, and see if we can determine the causes and underlying assumptions of this perception.
This letter to the editor of The Press of Atlantic City appeared in June 2012, and reads in full:
“Arrogant bicyclists endanger us all on roads.
It’s that time of the year again. Yup, the bicyclists are out in mass, riding two abreast and showing no respect for anyone’s vehicle except their own. They choose to ride on narrow two-lane roads with very narrow shoulders, which forces them into the auto lanes and is extremely dangerous for all.
Our county, township and state have spent thousands of dollars to construct bike paths for the many cyclists out there, so why do they have to infringe on our roadways?
I know we are supposed to share the road. But it’s not sharing the road when I and other drivers have to slow down and cross the median strip so that these clowns can talk to each other while out for their morning cruise.
If the above was not the norm, I could live with these arrogant bike riders. But most of them ride like they own the road. They actually taunt us to hit them. They run red lights, do not stop for walkers in the crossing lane, and get obnoxious when questioned about their actions.
I know that the police have more important things to do other than policing these bike riders, but something has to be done before someone is seriously injured by these cyclists’ callous actions.”
So, let’s look at the NJ laws that apply to bicycling on the road. Riding two abreast is permissible under NJ law (39:40-14.2) – “Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded…”
Also, bicyclists are required to ride in what the writer calls the “auto lane” – (39:40-14.2) “Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable” where 39:1-1 defines “‘Roadway’ means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.” The NJ Supreme Court ruled “a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’s shoulder.”
Perhaps in ignorance of the law, the writer believes that cars belong on the road and bicyclists don’t, e.g. “auto lane,” “infringe on our roadways.”
The writer complains that cyclists use the road even though “Our county, township and state have spent thousands of dollars to construct bike paths.” Implicit is the idea that cyclists don’t belong on the road because of the mistaken notion that only motorists pay taxes for bike paths and roads, e.g. “like they own the road.”
Also implicit is the idea that a motorist’s reason for being on the road is more important than the cyclists’ “morning cruise.”
There’s selective perception that cyclists disobey the law, e.g. “They run red lights, do not stop for walkers in the crossing lane,” implying that no motorist would ever do those same things.
The effect on the writer is “when I and other drivers have to slow down and cross the median strip.”
The writer imputes negative intentions to cyclists’ actions, e.g. “showing no respect for anyone’s vehicle except their own,” “They actually taunt us to hit them,” and “get obnoxious when questioned about their actions.”
The writer notes “something has to be done before someone is seriously injured by these cyclists’ callous actions,” perhaps not realizing that it is almost certainly the cyclists themselves who will be hurt in the event of a crash, not a motorist.
Unfortunately, the sentiments expressed by the writer are all too common, and build from ignorance to at least implicitly justify violence, all for the inconvenience of having to slow down and move over to pass. In the event of “serious injury” the writer will blame the victims, since the cause is “these cyclists’ callous actions.”
Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself – “this blogger is one of those arrogant cyclists.” Since we’re looking at calling other people arrogant, for a working definition let’s use “behaving in a way that makes me think you believe you are superior.” I’ll respectfully suggest that others’ “arrogant behavior” is highly dependent on your own social and cultural values and expectations, and that sometimes just acting equal is enough to be called arrogant – like riding a bike in the roadway. Thoughts?
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Tuesday, February 17 by joegorun
The WWBPA is once again accepting applications from high school seniors in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district or who live in West Windsor. Up to $1,000 in scholarship money (no more than $500 to one student) is available. Applicants are required to write a short essay or create a short video on a topic relating to bicycle and pedestrian safety.
Click Here to download the new application, which is due April 15, 2015.
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Friday, February 13 by JerryFoster
So, how much money do you save by bike commuting? Probably a lot, but let’s run the numbers.
First, the car expense – according to the AAA’s Your Driving Costs 2014 report, operating a small sedan costs $7930/year, while a SUV runs $12,446/year, including gas, maintenance, depreciation, insurance, loan interest, etc.
What about biking expenses? Elly Blue, author of Bikenomics, refers us to transportation economist Todd Littman’s 2011 research, which gives a range of $100-$300 per year for operating costs, which is comparable to AAA’s numbers, since it includes depreciated cost of the bike, etc.
Startup cost varies a lot, like the variation in the cost for driving a small sedan and a SUV. Here’s hypothetical cases for a high quality and an economical setup, based on online prices from the same national outdoor recreation equipment company:
High Quality – $2153
- New commuter bike, including fenders, rack, front/rear lights – $1400
- Commuter Helmet, including attachment for front/rear lights – $65
- Front/rear helmet lights – $100
- U-lock plus cable – $100
- Multitool ($50), spare tube ($10) , flat repair kit ($3), frame pump ($45), lube ($10) – $118
- Rainwear – jacket ($100), pants ($75), gloves ($45), helmet cover ($30) – $250
- Pannier, handlebar bag or backpack – $120
Economical – $543
- New hybrid bike – $400
- Rack ($25), front/rear lights (to be seen, not to light the road, $20) – $45
- Helmet – $25
- U-lock – $20
- Multitool ($10), flat repair kit ($3), frame pump ($10), lube ($5) – $28
- Rain poncho w hood – $5
- Backpack – $20
Typical bike maintenance is easy enough to learn that many people do it themselves – fixing a flat tire, lubing a chain, adjusting brakes – a web search shows numerous how-to videos that are very instructive. Blogger James Schwartz assumed $50 per year for maintaining a $1500 commuter bike.
Clearly, bike commuting saves a lot of money if you can actually reduce the number of cars you own, since you can buy multiple high quality new bikes and gear every year for much less than the operating costs of even a small sedan. But it is very difficult in the suburbs to go car free, so what if you only have one car? Then the savings will only be based on reduced miles driven, which saves on gas, maintenance, tires and depreciation.
According to the AAA report, the operating costs (gas, maintenance, tires) for a small sedan is 16.3 cents/mile, and 23.8 cents/mile for a SUV. If your commute is 2 miles each way, like mine, then 4 miles roundtrip x 240 working days/year equals 960 miles biked each year.
The 960 mile reduction in driving would save $156.48 (operating costs) plus $33.60 (reduced depreciation), totaling $190.08 for a small sedan, and $228.48 (operating costs) plus $48.96 for (reduced depreciation), totaling $277.44 for an SUV. This is in the range for paying for the annual bike costs, but hardly a killer incentive by itself. It will help if your employer offers you the IRS Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit – you can be reimbursed up to $240 each year for bike commuting expenses.
Of course you might choose to use the commuter bike for other errands, such as small grocery runs, to the bank, post office, etc. Since only 15% of our trips are for commuting, that leaves a lot of other trips that could be done by bike – e.g. 40% of all trips are 2 miles or less, and if you take the bike/walk trips out of the denominator, 69% of car trips are 2 miles or less.
Of course, you’ll save more in indirect costs, for example if you substitute biking for a gym membership, that could save about $1000/year. And the potential for saving money on health care is huge, since you may be much healthier with regular activity.
Perhaps most important, it’s fun! Of course, you’ll also be saving the world by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, since car exhaust is the single largest contributor in our area to CO2 emissions.
Last, longtime WWBPA readers might notice a strong resemblance between the bike commuter pictured above and the bike lane fairy, who hasn’t made a public appearance recently. Could this be why? Please join us at the New Jersey Bike and Walk Summit next Saturday, February 21 – we’ll keep an eye out, you never know when you might see her next.
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Tuesday, February 10 by JerryFoster
Made a few changes to the commuter bike in the year it’s been flogged every day 2 miles to the office and back – for reference, see last year’s post Accessorizing the Commuter Bike. You may notice a little extra reflective tape on the trunk box, for example.
There were two main issues – pain in the shoulder, caused by the straight handlebar, and pain in the neck, caused by dealing with the hydraulic disc brakes (mental pain, not physical).
Swapping the straight handlebar for a mustache bar provided the hand position that prevented shoulder pain (yep, even on a ten minute ride). Tried new grips, which didn’t help, then swapped the grips from my mountain bike to this bike – when that didn’t help it had to be the bar, because those grips are very comfortable on the mountain bike’s straight handlebar.
The next, more obviously self-inflicted issue, was that some idiot overloaded the light duty rack on grocery runs. The rack uses the fender as support, and the rivet-nut holding it to the frame pulled out (not just once, either), so the guys at the shop drilled and through bolted it to the frame – problem solved. (Also, bought a cargo bike so don’t need to overload the commuter bike anymore – an expensive fix, you might say, and my spouse would certainly agree – more in another post.)
The less obviously self-inflicted issue was dealing with the hydraulic disc brakes. One time, some idiot took off the wheel to put on the winter tires and closed the brake lever. You probably know that if you don’t have something for the brake to grab (disc, credit card, cardboard, etc.) it will not open back up, and the wheel will not go back on. Anyway, back to the shop to have the brake lines bled, and not for the 1st time.
The first time back to the shop was after a few months of winter riding and the lever went all the way to the handle without stopping much. Another time was to get the brakes to stop screeching, and to put some silicone around the fender rivets so they stopped rattling. The last straw was when some road gook got into the front brake on a ride to Hopewell, and I fought and listened to the tick from the brake all the way back to West Windsor, because there’s no way to loosen the calipers on hydraulic brakes in the field. I’d had enough – they were simply not idiot-proof enough for this idiot. The new mechanical disc brakes not only have ways to loosen them, they have dials for making adjustments and a fancy way to automatically align the calipers. It sure sounds good.
On the sound advice from the good folks at the shop, let’s talk about bike maintenance and keeping your bike clean. If (like a certain someone) you just ride it and occasionally lube the chain (sometimes after wiping the main gook off), you will have a much harder time pedaling by the end of the year – maybe because the derailleur pulleys rust into place. Really, it’s a wonder I could pedal at all. You might think this would encourage better bike cleaning, but instead it has me thinking about belt drives – anyone have experience to share?
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Wednesday, January 28 by JerryFoster
After a year of bike commuting from Princeton Junction to Carnegie Center in West Windsor, I’ve learned a very important lesson – timing is everything. This morning, my timing was perfect – in two miles I was only passed by 3 cars! See the video and skip to the times in parentheses referring to each lesson.
Lesson 1 (0:00) – Start after 9am (or before 8am) to avoid serious rush hour craziness. I pedaled through the neighborhood using the sidewalk shortcut that brings you to the back driveway of RiteAid on Rt 571.
Lesson 2 (0:20) – Congestion is a bike commuter’s friend. Wait at the driveway until the cars queue up, stopped for the light at Cranbury/Wallace, then proceed through the line to the left turn lane toward the station.
Lesson 3 (1:30) – Time the train schedule, and arrive at the station when people aren’t rushing to catch the train, or have just disembarked and are rushing toward the offices along Alexander and Rt 1. This morning the station was quiet, only met one pedestrian going the other way in the tunnel.
Lesson 4 (5:00) – Follow the traffic platoon. Turning right from the station (Vaughn Drive) and riding on Alexander Road is the most stressful part of the commute, since there is not enough congestion to slow traffic – it’s a 5 lane race course. I ride in the middle of the right lane, so cars pass in the left, which is very safe and as low stress as possible, given the conditions, but still not low stress. If you wait until the burst of traffic heads west on Alexander and then follow it, you’re rewarded with as much no-traffic time as possible – this morning only 3 cars passed by on this stretch.
Lesson 5 (6:00) – Watch the gap in your mirror. When you see the next traffic platoon approaching, evaluate your options for moving to the middle turn lane to make a left into any of 3 places – 2 office driveways or Roszel Road.
Lesson 6 (6:30) – The secret sidepath. On this wet and snowy morning, I went for the first office driveway and used the connecting multi-use path to the 2nd driveway and around back through the parking lot to make the left onto Roszel.
And that’s it! Somehow nobody passed me on Roszel (8:20), which is 4 lanes but very lightly traveled even between 8-9am – again I ride in the middle of the right lane.
Please contact us at email@example.com to share your low stress bike commuting tips.
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